R&K Insider: Democracy’s demise edition
Venezuela’s heroes, eight days of US air travel, and karaoke road trips.
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This week, we published a series of photos following the Green Cross, a group of medical students offering aid to both sides of the conflict in Venezuela. The idea that medical students are risking their lives to help protesters in what was until recently a stable democracy is jarring. I’ve been thinking a lot about the country since we published an interview with a Venezuelan fixer, who describes the situation in the country thus:
“In one word, chaos. That is what it means to be living in or coming to Caracas … With the protests, the city is now covered in tear gas all day long; streets are in bad shape, insecurity is on every corner, and people look for food in the garbage. What used to be one of the prettiest cities in Latin America, with lots of green around it and many places to see, is now a shadow of what it was.”
Incidentally, she was the fixer for this New York Times story on the nation’s crumbling mental hospitals, which remains one of the most upsetting things I read last year. Here’s a prescient article from 2013 on Chavez’s disastrous policies, and here’s a good overview of how the nation came to the brink of collapse. It’s some real “democracy dies in darkness” shit, which isn’t the worst thing to be contemplating right now from where I’m sitting in the U.S.
A few things I’m reading: “The distance between Gaza City and Tel Aviv is 44 miles. ‘What will Israel do when there are five million Palestinians living in Gaza?’” Check out the fresh-faced members of the new Russian resistance. Speaking of, Putin’s the worst but you have to hand it to him, he throws down some grade-A trolling. Kenya spent one-fifth of its national budget on a Chinese-made train, which is just an unbelievable stat. How the U.S. triggered a massacre in Mexico. My thoughts are with the victims of the horrifying Grenfell Tower fire in London; it was especially sad to read that one of the first victims was a Syrian refugee who survived the war only to die in London.
What’s it like to fly around America for a week straight? Spoiler: It sucks, obviously. Did anyone not see that coming? Would you pay $50 for a pound of greens? If so, head to Hong Kong, where you can relax in splendor with your fellow tycoons in the city with Asia’s widest wealth gap. On the other side of the regulatory fuck-up spectrum, the EU has determined that milk refers “exclusively [to] normal mammary secretion” and therefore soy milk must rebrand. This is dumb.
Let’s take a trip down the great Pacific oyster trail. Let’s DEFINITELY take a karaoke road trip. “It always comes back to cheese, doesn’t it?” is a great quote to get from a Cabinet minister. Let’s go to one of Budapest’s ruinpubs! Or not; I loved them when I lived in the city more than a decade ago, but when I went back last year they were largely clogged with ketamine-soaked Brits, so that’s no fun. This has been a bit of a depressing week, so let’s make strawberry shortcake. Let’s read about the toxic history of soda. That guy with the baguette, tho. Best lede ever? Yes, yes it is.
You’ve made it this far, so here you go: the story of an OBGYN delivering an adorable baby gorilla. You’re welcome!
That’s it for this week! My colleague Alexa will be filling in next week, but send me all your travel questions at Advice@roadsakdkingdoms.com. And as always, tweet me stories you want to see here @caraparks.